“A fact finding team of the grievance cell of ACT after interacting with the victims have found out that contrary to the media report that these youths had trespassed in the office of the Teesta Urja Ltd, at Ramam, the company had in fact trespassed on the ancestral land of the Lepchas and they were extracting building material and wood, even though no compensation has been paid to the land owner of the particular plot”, stated Tseten Lepcha, ACT vice president in the press statement.
According to ACT, the minor altercation that took place on July 21 between the land owner, Tenzing Lepcha and the non-local driver of the company was used as pretext by the company people who then ‘physically abused the youths and then misused the IRB Personnel stationed there to further beat the indigenous Lepchas in their own land, arrested them and assaulted them even after they were put in the cell at Chungthang police station’. These innocent members of tribes were kept without food or water in the cell and no information were given to their families, said ACT.
The ACT termed the above incident as an attempt to ‘subjugate the voices of the Sikkimese public who have been very seriously affected by the destructive hydro projects’. The private company is misusing the presence of the IRB to further harass and intimidate all those who have been suffering silently, alleged ACT.
The ACT in its press statement have demanded immediate withdrawal of the baseless cases against the members of the tribes, provide immediate compensation to all those who had been physically harmed and ensure that all labour camps area removed from the Dzongu area, as per the directions of Ministry of Environment and Forests. The body further said that it will seek the intervention of the Ministry to implement this clause in the Dzongu Region of Teesta Stage III hydro electric project.
The ACT has also demanded the withdrawal of IRB from the remote and peaceful Dzongu region so that the ‘force is not misused by the project developers to suppress the people of North Sikkim’.
source: Sikkim Express